ATLANTA — Long-time Atlanta businessman Arthur Blank, owner and chairman of the Blank Family of Businesses, including the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, observed Friday's protests with pain, much as many others in the metro area.
The protest was in response to the death of George Floyd, whose death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer last Monday and was seen on social media around the world polarized people everywhere.
“A number of events over the last couple of weeks have reminded us again that the long, worthy quest for equal justice, civility and unity in America is far from over. People are scared and in pain. Their frustration is real, and it must be acknowledged and addressed. More must be done to address systemic racism. More must be done to address the underlying issues that have led to these incidents across the country. More must be done to bring people together through meaningful change," Blank said.
He went on to point out that open, honest, and non-political dialogue is what is needed on a large scale. While the events of the past week across the nation have been terrible and frightening, Blank hopes that as a nation that we can learn and move in a positive direction.
“The public discourse on these and other issues is too divisive, too political. These are not political issues, they are human issues that need serious, earnest attention from leaders and citizens alike who understand that diversity is our strength and fair treatment is everyone’s right. Open, honest dialogue is needed on a much greater scale," Blank said. "It is my hope that we take this terrible moment in our history to elevate that conversation toward productive action and lasting, positive change. Peaceful protests of the past have led to new ways forward. Lawlessness, vandalism and intentionally upending the peace with any form of violence has never been productive and is not the answer. We must not accept or condone violence in any way. And to be sure, Atlanta is better than what we saw in the actions of a few last night."
Just as Atlanta has been able to rise in the past, it is hoped, he said, that we can move forward in the future.
“Together we will rise above this on the strength of what has always made Atlanta great – its people, its leaders of past and present and its unique culture that is welcoming to all. Our Family Foundation and the rest of our businesses here in Atlanta and elsewhere remain committed to being part of the solution," Blank said.
Damage in Atlanta following Friday night's violent protests
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